Web Development – Envato https://envato.com Design & creative inspiration Tue, 16 Jan 2018 05:40:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 https://assets.wordpress.envato-static.com/uploads/2016/08/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Web Development – Envato https://envato.com 32 32 What Is Elementor? Plus, Plugins That Will Take It to the Next Level https://envato.com/blog/what-is-elementor-plus-plugins-that-will-take-it-to-the-next-level/ Sun, 14 Jan 2018 22:00:29 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=64729 Elementor is a plugin that's great for people who want to build a website in a way that's more visual than technical. Here's how it works, and here are the plugins that will make it soar.

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Elementor is a page builder plugin that’s a great option for people who aren’t that technical when it comes to putting together a website.

If you’re someone who is capable of searching for and choosing a theme to download on ThemeForest, but is more visual than technical when it comes to putting it together, this will be a great option for you.

Its drag-and-drop nature makes it easy to arrange pages exactly how you want them, without the need to use code, HTML, CSS or shortcode.

And, as you make changes, you get to see how they will render, live on your screen.

How it works

Firstly, what makes Elementor special is its versatility and easy UI.

Whether you want to stick to the conventions of your web theme or completely depart from them, you’ll find that Elementor makes it effortless to do both.

When starting a new page or post, you have the ability to stick with your default theme, or start with a blank canvas.

As you begin editing with Elementor, you’ll come to find everything you need is contained in the sidebar to the left of your screen, with a live preview of how those changes will render on the right.

The sidebar is populated by Widgets which you then drag into the preview side of the screen to create Sections, which is what each row of content populating your screen is referred to as.  

Each Section can be arranged into columns, and the widgets your drag in fill them up with your preferred type of content, be it text, photos, videos or more.

To fill your placeholder widget with your actual content, you will turn to the Content tab in the sidebar. The intuitive UI makes it obvious as to where to add your text, photos or videos.

To control the look and feel of the Section or Widget, you’ll switch to the Style tab in the sidebar. This gives you options for Text, Typography, Spacing and more.

And then, finally, to control the rest of the section’s look and feel, you’ll switch to the Advanced tab in the sidebar. This gives you options for Margin spacing, Padding, Animation, Background, Border, and more.

By simply dragging and dropping from the Widgets section, adding your content in the Content section, and customizing the look and feel in the Style and Advanced sections, you’ll be creating impressive posts and pages on your website in no time.

Best Features

Here’s a quick look at some of the best features of Elementor.

Elementor Canvas

If you want to create a page or post completely from scratch, breaking from your current web theme, Elementor Canvas allows you to do this. It can even remove the default header and footer if you want to give the page or post its own identity, head to toe. And, it works with any theme.

Full-width pages

Say you’re wanting to build a special landing page, or feature blog post, and you want it to have a look and feel of its own, with no distractions, this is the way to do it. Full-width pages are pages that, as you may guess, take up the full width of a user’s window. Usually most page builders can do this, but will require you to use the vendor’s theme. Not so with Elementor. You can control the entire look and feel, not matter what theme you’re using.

Revision History

This files each revision you make whenever you press the ‘Save’ button. But, it keeps all your old revisions without overwriting them, meaning you can revert to an earlier one at any time. It’s a full history backup.

Flip Box

The Flip Box widget allows you to add boxes with, say, pricing information, or steps of a process that animate (or flip) when a user hovers over them. It’s a great way to make your site feel more interactive, and engage the user.

Gradient Effect

This feature makes it easy to add gradient backgrounds to sections of your page or post.

Shape Divider

This allows you to break from traditional box restrictions and section off parts of your post or page in a creative way.

Share Buttons

A really easy way to add social share buttons to your post or page, and fully control the look, feel and function of them.

Media Carousel

Showcase your images and videos easily with the Media Carousel, which showcases Elementor’s emphasis of visual content.

Nav Menu

An easy way to create professional looking menus quickly.

Testimonial Carousel

Display reviews from customers in a visually compelling way with a pre-build, but totally customizable Testimonial Carousel.

Integrations

Elementor now integrates with a bunch of popular email and CRM services, making it easy to get more conversions from your campaigns.

Form Widget

Create forms that users can fill out right on your page without needing to leave it.

WooCommerce Widget

Showcase products from your WooCommerce store in a variety of way using this widget and its advanced filters.

Plugins that take Elementor to the Next Level

JetBlog is a powerful plugin that provides a way to present your content widgets in the form of eye-catching, and easily customizable text tickers, smart tiles and smart lists.

  • Smart List: Present your top posts with a feature story up top, and a list of other articles neatly organized below. Iti provides a tidy and stylish design with a clear hierarchy and intuitive way of capturing the eye.
  • Smart Tiles: A very popular way of displaying posts on a homepage, Smart Tiles allows you to let each post’s featured image fill the placeholders with the post’s title overlayed. You get to customize the arrangement of the tiles.
  • Smart Video: A sensation feature that will take the Media Carousel widget to another level. Create and display playlists of your YouTube or Vimeo videos and allow it to live on your post or page with this feature. It’s sure to stop people leaving your site to watch videos, and increase time spent on site, as well as engagement.
  • Smart Ticker: Have your top or trending posts tick across the top of your screen with the Smart Ticker.

This pack is brand new and already making an impression. It looks good, and is fully responsive. Plus, it features 24/7 technical support.

JetElements - Addon for Elementor Page Builder by ZEMEZ

JetElements provides a bunch of enhancements and additional features you don’t get from the free version of Elementor.

With this pack, you’ll gain the ability to include WooCommerce integration modules, Pricing Tables, Animated Boxes and Countdown Timers.

  • Advanced Carousel Module: This allows you to set a customer number of slides, add vivid animations, and handsome backgrounds.
  • Pricing Table: A visual way to showcase prices and services, along with the pricing tiers they fit into.
  • Subscribe Form: Allow people to subscribe to your MailChimp list with this easy to use module that you can fully control the look, feel and function of.
  • Countdown Timer: Embed an eye-catching timer for that next sale you have with this easily customizable module. Control the colors, gradients, backgrounds, and, of course, the time.
  • Image Comparison: Show before and after comparisons in a visually compelling way with this module.

There’s so much more in this pack. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s an easy way to create Mega Menus using Elementor with this plugin, again by ZEMEZ.

Compatible with all the most popular WordPress themes, it’s a simple and intuitive way drag and drop the elements you want together to make up a mega menu to sit on your website. And you won’t need any coding skills at all.

  • Highly Customizable: You’ll have full control of the style of this mega-menu, including the colors, drop shadows, borders, icons and more. But, you can also rest assured that if you’re not super hands on, the default setting are also good looking too.
  • All Types of Content: Your mega-menu can be made up of a large range of content types. Whether you want to feature text, imagery, posts or multimedia, you can do it with this plugin.
  • Fully Responsive: The menu you create will automatically be fully responsive, so it’ll be fit for all types of screens big and small.
  • Import/Export Options: If you need to reset to the default settings, that’s always easy to do. If you want to import settings, or a saved Mega Menu, you can. If you want to export this menu to other sites using Elementor, or share it, you can.
  • Fully Compatible with Top ThemeForest Themes: Whether you’re using Avada, BeTheme or Enfold themes, this plugin is fully compatible, and able to empower you to get the most out of them.

Mega-Menus are pretty much standard for big sites and publications, so this is a plugin to consider if you’re housing a lot of content on the one domain.

Want the ability to create a footer in a totally different way? Smart Footer System gives you the ability to create a customizable footer using its 9 different modes. Compatible with a broad range of page builders including Elementor.

  • Single page footer: You can create a unique footer, specifically for a single page.
  • Custom Page type: There are footer options for each page on your site like the homepage, single page, blog page and more.
  • Video Background Feature: Using YouTube, Vimeo or self hosted video, you can include video in the background of your footer.

Customize: You get full control of content padding, border properties, background style and the ability to hide your footer on certain devices.

This highly rated addons pack gives you more options to customize the most the most fundamental building blocks of Elementor.

  • Content Elements: Add team members, data tables and flip boxes to sections.
  • Dynamic Content Elements: Create post timelines, add your Instagram feed, Woo Product Grid, or a dynamic gallery.
  • Creative Elements: Include fancy text, a flip carousel, interactive cards or a content timeline.
  • Marketing Elements: Easily include calls to action, and pricing tables.
  • Form Styler Elements: And add in contact forms, web forms and more.

The Boosted Elements plugin adds additional page builder elements to Elementor. With must-have elements like sliders, maps, pricing tables, popups & more, adding this to this versatile page builder will only give you more flexibility.

  • Drag & Drop Page Builder: No need for shortcodes. Easily edit and manage your pages with a frontend page builder.
  • Premium Slider: Enhance the built-in slider element with this feature that will allow you to build premium slideshows.
  • Pre-built Templates: Use these already created templates to get your site up and running, quickly.

Search Engine Optimized: This plugin is optimized for SEO and works with all of the top SEO plugins.

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8 Tips for Creating Fun and Functional Forms That Don’t Fail Visitors https://envato.com/blog/8-tips-for-creating-fun-and-functional-forms-that-dont-fail-visitors/ Wed, 10 Jan 2018 03:59:20 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=64637 Create well-designed forms that are intuitive for your site visitors, with these 8 tips.

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You’ll be hard-pressed to find a website that doesn’t feature some kind of form. Whether it’s to help visitors get in touch, download an offer, subscribe to your site, or simply log in, forms play an essential role in how we share and retrieve information online.

Creating an effective form involves more than just displaying a few fields and adding a “Submit” button underneath. Forms should be user-friendly and help users towards completing the form quickly and easily without feeling like they’re in boring paperwork. Badly designed forms that are long and confusing can be frustrating for users and result in them abandoning your site.

To help you create well-designed forms that are intuitive for your site visitors, here are 8 tips to keep in mind.

Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

Only ask for the details you actually need. Most people don’t have the patience to complete long exhaustive forms. They will only get annoyed if they feel you are asking for unnecessary information.

The main objective of your form is to collect enough information to get a conversation started – you can collect any extra information you need after the user has made first contact.

For example, do you really need to know someone’s phone number when they are seeking a quote for your services? If you work locally with clients in your city, by all means, ask. But, if you’ll be corresponding by email then there’s no point making your form longer than it needs to be.

Where possible, it’s also helpful to show the user how far along they are in completing your form using a progress bar. Or use asterisks to show which questions are required and which ones aren’t so users can skip the fields they don’t want to fill in.

One of my favorite examples of a site that sticks to asking information that’s absolutely necessary is Emporium Pies. Not only does the ordering page only ask users for information needed to order pies online, but it does so in a visual way that makes it fun to complete.

Emporium Pies’ online order form is fun and functional.

Include Useful Error Messages

If a user fills out your form incorrectly – i.e. misses a field or enters their name in the email field – it’s important to display helpful error messages that clearly explain where they went wrong or what information they’re missing.

If possible, offer feedback in real-time, such as highlighting fields the user hasn’t filled in, so the user can correct their mistake before they hit the “Submit” button.

Healthcare provider Oscar does a great job of helping new customers in real-time as they fill in their quote form. The form asks for one piece of information at a time so as not to overwhelm users. And when you fail to fill in your details properly, an error message is displayed underneath that briefly conveys what you need to do to proceed.

Health insurer Oscar’s website features a very modern and user-friendly quote form.

Display Trust Signals

Nowadays, people are more reluctant than ever to share their personal information online, mostly due to spam but also because hackers target people’s sensitive information.

To address this, ensure your form is well-designed and professional – you want to make sure it looks legit. It’s also useful to include a link to your privacy policy and display the logos of any security organizations you are affiliated with, such as Norton. These elements will help make users feel more comfortable sharing their private information with you and instill confidence in your website.

Offer Autofill

Nobody likes filling out paperwork. It’s boring, and even more so when you have to do it over and over again, as you tend to do when shopping online. To help increase the likelihood of users completing your form – and hitting reaching the checkout part of your store, if you have one – save user information in form fields using cookies so the next time they visit their information will be pre-populated in form fields, saving them a bunch of time.

Don’t Use the Word “Submit”

Using the word “submit” isn’t really appropriate in the context of online forms. While it describes what the system does, it’s not helpful for users. Instead, try “Send,” “Join Our Newsletter,” or “Sign Up.”

Use words that are meaningful and describe the action you want the user to carry out. Using great copy delights users and encourages them to complete your form. So, avoid technical language or system words that mean more to computers and developers than regular users.

Check out how Cornflower Creamery’s newsletter subscription form asks users to “subscribe”, not “submit” or “send”. The button’s language tells users they are subscribing to a newsletter so there’s no confusion about how the user’s email will be used.

Cornflower Creamery’s newsletter subscription form is short and sweet.

Fulfill Offers Immediately

If a user has filled in a pop-up or other type of form on your site promising an incentive, the moment they enter their information and hit “send” (or whatever other language you choose to use), the incentive should be already on its way to their inbox. Alternatively, you might choose to display a download link on a thank you page that loads after the user clicks “send.”

The idea here is that you want to provide immediate gratification for the user. Nowadays, no one likes to wait, and there’s really no reason why anyone should have to wait for a downloadable file online (unless you’re drip feeding content as part of a campaign. But, that’s an article for another day).

Use Responsive Design

With so many people viewing websites on mobile phones these days, it’s crucial your form looks and functions well across the full range of devices, from smartphones to desktop. This is easier said than done, however, especially for complex forms such as eCommerce checkouts.

Ensuring your forms are responsive yet user-friendly can be a tough task. But, it’s an important one you should tackle. So, whenever you’re creating a new form, consider how it will be displayed on different devices from the outset.

For example, a pop-up newsletter subscription form might include some graphical elements, text and an email field for desktop users, but on mobile might just include some brief text and the email field.

Likewise, you could split a checkout form into multiple pages for mobile users so they don’t have to scroll forever to buy an item from your store.

Shopify uses a very simple design for its sign up form. When you enter your email address on the homepage to get started creating a new store, a modal immediately displays that asks for more details. The below image is what it looks like on an iPhone 8, and on desktop it looks pretty much the same, just with wider text fields. 

Shopify uses a basic design to capture new user details so you can get started creating a new store quickly.

Take the Time to Say “Thank You”

Taking the time to say “thank you” to users who fill in your forms is not only a nice thing to do but informs the user that they have successfully completed your form without error.

For example, have you ever filled in a contact form and hit “Send” only for the page to reload without any confirmation that the message actually sent as if your message has simply disappeared into thin air? It’s a confusing and frustrating.

Ensure your forms either display some kind of confirmation message or redirect to a “thank you” page upon completion that tells them what the next steps are.

Even better, you could personalize the confirmation message using the information provided in the form, i.e. “Thanks for subscribing, Robert! You’ll receive our next awesome newsletter in your inbox tomorrow.”

Bonus: Useful Plugins for Creating Forms

Below, I’ve put together a collection of some of the best-selling form building plugins you’ll find in our plugin marketplace.

With more than 20,000 downloads and an average 4.75-star rating, QuForm is the most popular form building plugin in our marketplace. It offers a stack of features including drag and drop, live preview, complex form layouts, 11 themes, on-submit conditions and conditional logic.

FormCraft is another popular plugin with 13,000+ downloads. Like QuForm, it offers drag and drop and features an intuitive and easy-to-use interface for creating forms. There are lots of useful add-ons for newsletters and other form functions, such as MailChimp and Recaptcha. It also features advanced logic, math formulas and responsive design.

eForm is a great multipurpose form solution that enables you to create any kind of form, from surveys and checkouts to quizzes and subscription forms. There are lots of themes (including 38+ inspired by Material Design). If you get stuck trying to build a form, there are demos, tutorials and support available to help you out.

This feature-packed plugin offers everything you need to create advanced forms including conditional logic, cost estimation, interactive forms, multi-step forms, pop-ups, responsive design, anti-spam protection, autoresponder and AJAX. There’s so much more but I’d be here all day writing it out. So instead, click through to the plugin page and check out the live preview.

Conclusion

I hope these tips have inspired you to create fun and functional forms of your own. With a little inspiration and using plugins from our marketplace, you can easily build forms for your site that encourage users to share their information with you, whether it’s their email or payment details for your online store.

Don’t forget to test your forms regularly to ensure they’re working. Just the other day I heard a client horror story about a site owner who set up a new website but didn’t check her contact form actually worked. Potential clients tried to get in touch with her but her form did nothing when people clicked “Send.”

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Ways to Launch Your Website Quickly, Without Sacrificing Quality https://envato.com/blog/ways-launch-website-quickly-without-sacrificing-quality/ Mon, 08 Jan 2018 05:00:33 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=63510 Every business wants to put their best foot forward when it comes to their website. But there are challenges in taking a website from concept to finished product in short order. Here are some ways you can do it without sacrificing quality.

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Image: New Business Project Start Up by Faber14

As a web designer, when I ask clients about their timeline for launching their new website, the usual response is: “As soon as possible.” This makes perfect sense as every business wants to put their best foot forward when it comes to their website. But there are often challenges in taking a website from concept to finished product in short order.

For one, hurrying your way through the process can lead to mistakes. It’s often the little details in both the layout and content that suffer from your rushing around. That could show up in the form of misspellings or even a broken layout. When you’re in a major hurry, the results reflect in the overall quality of the website.

Thankfully, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by taking some steps to ensure that you can get your site launched quickly while maintaining a high standard of quality.

Don’t Start From Scratch

When time really is of the essence, there may simply not be enough of it to warrant starting from scratch. Going through the process of building an entire website from ground zero will make it difficult to get up and running on time. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a beautiful, highly-functional website.

There are tools and services you can use that will speed up the process. A site builder, for example, will enable you to start out with a pre-designed template that you can customize to suit your needs. While it means the look of your site may not be 100% original, you can change things up enough to make it uniquely your own.

If you’re looking for serious functionality, using a well-made WordPress theme is a great solution. All of the hard design and development work has been done for you. From there, you can integrate any necessary plugins to add those must-have features. This will let you take advantage of the powerful WordPress platform without all of the extra effort.

This step alone will put you miles ahead in terms of getting things done within your desired timeframe.

Narrow the Focus of Your Content

Craftsma by EwaStudio

Beyond the design process, the biggest cause for delay in getting a website launched is developing content. So it stands to reason that the more content you have to prepare, the harder it will be to hit your deadline.

If getting your website launched quickly is a top priority, then it’s okay to start small when it comes to content. While it would be nice to start things off with a few dozen carefully-crafted blog posts touting your business – it’s a bit impractical. Instead, think about the basics that visitors will need to know like the services or products you offer, contact information, etc.

Once your site is up and running, you’ll be able to add content at a comfortable pace. This can actually be a good thing in that repeat visitors will have something new to check out. The other advantage of starting small is that you can truly focus on making the most important content the best it can be.

Enlist a Helping Hand (Or Two)

Building a website isn’t easy. There will likely be certain tasks during the process that eat up more time than you anticipated. Things that looked simple in the beginning can turn into a complicated mess in a hurry.

When you’re mired in such a situation, bringing in an expert to help can get things back on track. That will allow you to focus on other parts of the project while your hired hand(s) can take care of whatever pesky issues arise.

But you don’t necessarily have to wait for something like this to pop up unannounced. For instance, if you know that there’s a specific part of the process that’s outside of your comfort zone, that’s the time to think about getting some help. Planning ahead will help you avoid a derailment while on the way to the finish line.

Make the Hard Choices

To paraphrase an old saying: If you want something that’s good, fast and cheap – pick two. The point being that you’re probably not going to get all three of those things at once. However, that saying may be less relevant for those who are able to make some tough decisions early on.

When “fast” is first on your personal wishlist, that means that you’ll inevitably have to make some tradeoffs. Maybe that means holding off on that complicated functionality until later on. Or it could be that you’ll have to take your focus off of other matters in order to get your website launched.

By making those types of decisions, you may actually be placing yourself on a path to achieve all three traits – or at least get close to it. When you realize that you can’t have “everything now”, you can concentrate your efforts on what is doable within the allotted time and budget.

In that way, maybe “good, fast and cheap” isn’t so unrealistic.

You Can Do It!

Sure, having a tight timeline for launching your website is a challenge. But it’s far from impossible. So often, we try to cram all of our wants and needs into the tiniest of spaces. The better approach is in taking that timeline and adjusting our expectations around it.

With realistic expectations, we can then turn our attention into building the best website possible. We can use tools and services to get us off to a running start. Content can be narrowed down to focus on our most pressing needs. And, if there are areas where some extra help would be appreciated, we can be proactive in seeking it out.

Perhaps the hardest part of the process involves deciding what has to be included and what can wait. But it may well be the most important factor in getting things right.

Keep in mind that launching a website in itself is full of hurdles to get past. Doing so within a compressed timeline adds even more obstacles. But with the right approach, you’ll put yourself in a position to launch a top-quality site in less time than you thought possible.

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22 Must-Have WooCommerce Plugins for 2018 https://envato.com/blog/22-must-woocommerce-plugins-2018/ Tue, 02 Jan 2018 21:29:35 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=63516 For store owners, WooCommerce gives you full control over you store, allowing you to sell anything online.

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WooCommerce powers over 28% of all online stores and is the most popular eCommerce platform on the web. Not bad for a bootstrapped product that you can download for free.

For store owners, WooCommerce gives you full control over you store, allowing you to sell anything online. And for developers, the plugin is open source, extendable, adaptable and integrates seamlessly with WordPress

There are hundreds of extensions available for WooCommerce that can help you add greater functionality to the core software. So whether you want better manage your store, grow your marketing efforts, display shipping information or even save time calculating sales tax, there’s an extension to help you do it.

In this post, I’ll share 22 of the best WooCommerce extensions available in our marketplace to help you improve your online store as we count down the days to 2018. Not only will these plugins make it easier to manage your store, but they will also help you increase your sales.

 Let’s kick off this collection with an extension that plays on the psychology behind buying decisions. With XL WooCommerce Sales Triggers, you can add one of 7 psychological triggers to your online store. These include:

  • Displaying a countdown timer to create urgency

  • Showing the items left in store to induce scarcity

  • Displaying potential cost savings to trigger loss aversion

  • Sharing the most recent sales activity for social proof

  • Displaying a list of what your store guarantees to reassure shoppers

  • Displaying the satisfaction rate to increase shopper confidence

  • Highlighting your store’s best sellers to reduce anxiety

It’s a clever plugin that uses sales tactics employed by stores like Amazon, eBay and Zappos to increase buyer confidence, reassure people who are nervous about checking out, and create a sense of urgency around making a purchase.

This useful and versatile extension lets you add additional product options to your store so you can provide more information to shoppers. Using a simple and intuitive interface, you can create forms (and use conditional logic), add new pricing options and create priced product variations.

The form builder provides advanced functionality so you can create checkboxes, radio buttons, select boxes, text areas, input fields and add range and color pickers.

If you’ve reached a point where you’re feeling limited by the basic setting WooCommerce provides, this extension will help you achieve even more with your store.

Want to earn some extra cash using your WooCommerce? With WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates you advertise Amazon products in your store and receive advertising feeds from qualifying purchases. You can also receive advertising feeds from products your site visitors buy and visit, not just the products you advertise thanks to the extension’s built-in 90 days cookie feature.

The on-site cart feature enables your customers to checkout with any Amazon products they want to buy using your store, which means more commission fees for you.

This extension is constantly being updated and features some nice additions, including shipping availability, cross-selling, Amazon coupons and reviews, and geo-targeting.

Help your customers find products in your store easier and faster with this useful must-have extension. It provides advanced product filtering functionality so customers can do everything from basic searches to advanced filtering with specific criteria.

Setting up this extension is a straightforward process and the admin interface is easy to navigate and configure. The filter is fully customizable and you can choose layouts, colors, filter criteria and terms, and create filter presets.

This is a great plugin for making your site easier to navigate and show shoppers what you have in stock.

When your store has hundreds of products, providing shipping options can be a headache. Fortunately, Table Rate Shipping for WooCommerce takes the stress out of setting up multiple shipping options based on a variety of conditions and pricing models.

This extension provides a comprehensive and well-organized settings page, making set up a breeze. Shipping options include an extensive list of conditions based on price, quantity, weight, dimensions, shipping class, categories, specific products and dates. You can also provide numerous cost types including flat, percentage and different multiplies for all numerical product data.

No matter what your pricing strategy is, this extension can help you achieve it. This all-purpose pricing and promotion tool provides a comprehensive list of pricing methods and conditions that you can mix and match to fit your online store.

There are lots of ways you could use this plugin, including for sales, promotions, special offers, bulk pricing, tiered pricing, bundle pricing, member pricing, loyalty programs and even location-based pricing. In addition, you can conditionally increase your prices or charge extra fees when needed.

Here are a few examples of what you can do with this extension:

  • Run a Christmas, Easter or Black Friday promotion
  • Set up clearance or flash sales
  • Clear stock – “All shoes 10% off until midnight!”
  • Create incentives – “Free case with every phone purchase!”
  • Reward loyal customers – “VIP members get 25% off items at checkout”

This comprehensive cloud-based solution allows you to manage online sales and process orders for your physical store at the point of sale using WooCommerce. What’s more, there are no monthly fees or hosting costs so you can activate this plugin and start using it right away without worrying about hidden costs.

Features include cash management, barcode scanning, order notes, product add-ons, currency rounding and reporting/analytics. The intuitive interface makes it easy to manage stock, print and email receipts, and offer discounts and coupons.

This is a great extension if you want to bring your online shop into your physical store.

Do you offer car rentals or some other product that people can book and hire? This extension offers everything you need to run your business through your WooCommerce store. It features a comprehensive set of features, including pricing, booking calendar, unlimited bookable products, inventory management, product availability control, pricing discounts, and the ability to request a quote.

You can also provide time or data-based bookings, set a general, daily or monthly price, in addition to many other settings.

Whether you’re a developer or a store owner who doesn’t code, this handy extension will help you create flexible shipping rates for your store. There are lots of options that allow you to set shipping rates based on conditions based on the cart (i.e. tax, coupon, weight, shipping class), user (zip code, city, state, country, user role) and product (width, height, stock, category etc).

The extension also provides conditional logic and multiple shipping methods, making it easy to configure and charge what you want to for shipping. For example, you could set your shipping costs based on the weight of what the customer is purchasing and charge more for heavier items.

Whether you sell t-shirts, business cards or mugs, this plugin provides the features you need to sell any kind of custom product in your store. Say, for example, you want to sell custom hats. You choose what kinds of hats shoppers can buy and what parts of the hate can be customized, including colors, prints and logos.

Products can be customized in any number of ways. Customers can upload images (i.e. JPG, PNG and SVG), use a color picker (or choose from a color preset you set), create and style text, and edit images.

What’s cool about this particular extension is the interface it provides for designing products. It’s user-friendly and just looks really cool – an easy win if you’re looking to further impress customers using your store.

According to the Baymard Institute, the cart abandonment rate for online retailers is 69.23%. If you’ve already put in place other measures to reduce abandonment for your store, this useful extension could help you get customers back and increase sales.

Here’s how CartBack works: After you install the extension, it adds a “Send to Messenger” checkbox to your product pages. When a customer adds an item to their cart, they are automatically opted in to receive Facebook Messenger alerts. If the customer doesn’t check out, he/she will get two reminders, which you can set.

It’s a useful chatbox and something many online companies like PayPal are already using to provide customers with information about their online activities.

WOOF is another powerful and flexible product filtering extension that lets shoppers search your online search using specific criteria, including categories, custom product attributes, tags, custom taxonomies and price.

For developers who want to create something a little different from the norm, this extension provides an API for even more flexibility.

Other features include shortcodes and a widget and AJAX mode for shop and category pages, which is super handy for speeding up your site and delivering a better user experience for shoppers.

Often, it’s difficult trying to find the perfect gift, whether it’s for a loved one’s birthday, an anniversary or Christmas. While giving cash can come off as lazy, gift cards provide the ideal alternative. They’re a simple convenience for shoppers that offers flexibility.

With this extension, you can create gift cards for any type of product, automatically generate emails for your gift cards and enable offline availability so customers can choose them in physical stores. Plus, there are lots of well-designed templates for any occasion, including Easter, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Diwali.

We’ve covered a lot of extensions in this collection so far that add front-end extra functionality to your store to help shoppers. This extension, however, is for backend to help you bulk edit your products. With 44 built-in fields that are searchable and editable, and the ability to create, duplicate and delete products, this extension is a must-have for inventory management.

The search and edit features of this extensions are super advanced. Say, for example, you want to update the pricing for all women’s t-shirts that you have in stock that are tagged a certain size. You can do that with this extension. You can also export products to CSV and filter products based on a huge number of variables, including price, SKU, title and category.

Emails are important when you run an online store. From sending receipts to updating customers on shipping, the emails you send leave a lasting impression on customers and whether they’ll return to your store to buy more.

This extension lets you create beautiful transactional emails so you don’t have to use the default designs. You can customize colors, the header and footer, add custom links and social icons, and updates what the email says using shortcodes.

What’s more, you can preview and send/resend emails for existing WooCommerce orders, so if a customer accidentally deletes a receipt, you can quickly issue another copy – a quick win for customer service.

Are you interested in setting up auctions for your online store like eBay? With this extension you can create auctions for your products, set start and end times and easily control how your auctions look through simple customizations.

Like eBay, you can display auction items that are ending soon, display featured auctions and display the current bid in multiple currencies. On the backend, you can control how product items are displayed, set bid increments and the item’s condition, and set the bidding start price.

Badges provide an eye-catching way to liven up your product pages, grab your customers’ attention and inform them of sales and discounts.

This extension replaces the default WooCommerce sales badges with well-designed SVG graphics for faster display. There are many different colors and customizable styles to choose from. You can even set a different badge for each product, set special badges for holidays and show customers how much they’ll save when buying a product.

There are 15 preset badges included as well as two bonus Christmas designs. Want to create your own badges? You can do that too.

Do you run a printing company? With this easy to use extension, you can enable customers to design and customize your base products, from t-shirts and badges to phone cases and anything else you can dream up. What’s great about this particular extension is the design interface – it looks fantastic and is easy to use on any device, whether you’re using a desktop or a smartphone. With the product design interface you can drag and drop to resize, move items, set dimensions, colors and text, and allow customers to undo changes if they change their mind.

Another great feature is the ability to save and re-use your design and share it on social media – a great way to encourage word-of-mouth and increase traffic to your store.

When you’re running an online store, providing currency conversion is a must. After all, you want as many shoppers as possible to visit your store and allowing them to view your products in their local currency will make them feel more at home, no matter what currency they live in.

This useful extension allows you to switch product prices and display currency conversions in real-time. There are some useful features, like widgets and shortcodes so you can customize where you want currencies to display. One interesting feature is the ability to create your own custom currency – maybe something useful for gamers?

Allowing customers to track the delivery of their online purchase is convenient for two very important reasons: it allows customers to easily check when their order is due to arrive and it free you up from having to answer customer inquiries about order status.

WooCommerce Order Tracker provides tracking for FedEx and Canada Post, with more shipping options coming soon. This extension also provides email notifications so you can update customers on their order status and customizable tracking templates.

According to Baymard Institute, 27% of shoppers abandon their carts because the checkout process is too long and complicated. A simple way to improve your checkout flow and make it easier for shoppers to complete their purchase is with a multistep checkout.

This extension helps you create a checkout wizard by splitting the default WooCommerce checkout page into different sections. This allows customers to move through your checkout without getting confused or overwhelmed. You can style your checkout using horizontal and vertical responsive layouts.

When you’re caught up in the day-to-day running of your online store, it’s easy to forget about one very important thing: reviewing the success of your business. With this extension, you can generate a complete report of your recent orders, a sales order summary, top product views, coupons, order status, stock, shopping, tax, categories… You can pretty much keep an eye on anything and everything to do with your store.

Here are a few examples of what you can do with this powerful reporting tool:

  • View sales by days, months – in fact, any time period
  • Generate customer history reports
  • Great a tax and refund report
  • See which categories of your products are top sellers
  • View all orders by status, gross and net amount, shopping amount and tax
  • Display products by stock levels

Another great feature is the ability to set your desired monthly sale amount (aka projected sales) and then view a report of projected sales versus actual sales for each month of the year.

Conclusion

This list barely scratches the surface of what you’ll find in our plugin marketplace. There are plenty more extensions to choose from that can help you extend how the core WooCommerce plugin works, so be sure to check out the hundreds of other plugins available. You can also learn more about WordPress in our collection of plugin tutorials.

If you liked that, you'll love this

Top 50 WooCommerce Themes of 2016

WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform which offers endless customization options. It comes as an easy to use plugin for WordPress and has one of the

Tips for Getting Started with WooCommerce

It takes an understanding of what WooCommerce can (and can’t) do – along with a healthy dose of planning to make sure your site lives up to its potential, so here are some tips to help you.

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48 Best WordPress Themes and Templates – January 2018 https://envato.com/blog/best-wordpress-themes-templates/ Tue, 02 Jan 2018 02:46:23 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=64136 A new year, a new you – or, at least, a new theme for your WordPress website. Whether you’re looking for a theme for a brand new website or want to refresh your current design, our theme marketplace has just the theme you’re looking for. There are so many stunning options available that choosing just […]

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A new year, a new you – or, at least, a new theme for your WordPress website. Whether you’re looking for a theme for a brand new website or want to refresh your current design, our theme marketplace has just the theme you’re looking for.

There are so many stunning options available that choosing just one is a tricky decision for the discerning site owner. So much so that it’s easy to spend hours searching online for the perfect theme.

So, we’ve done the hard work for you with this round-up of the best trending, multipurpose, niche, portfolio and blog WordPress themes to look out for in January.

Using insights from our content specialists, data from our online marketplace, and reviews from creatives around the world, this list brings together the best of the best WordPress themes and the latest trends in web design.

Scroll through the list below and don’t forget to bookmark your favorites.

Trending Themes

This beautiful eco-friendly theme has been designed with environmental organizations and charitable groups in mind. It comes with an easy to set up donations features so you can raise funds for your projects and even fun several fundraising campaigns at the same time. There’s also built-in events functionality so you can publish the details of meetings, conferences and other important events.

As cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity over the past 12 months, we’re seeing more themes that support digital currencies appearing in our marketplace. Crypto was designed and built for cryptocurrency blogs and magazines and is based on the powerful ThemeREX framework. It’s compatible with the Cryptocurrency All-in-One plugin so you can display the latest prices and exchange rates, calculators and charts, and accept payments and donations.

With 8 ready-to-use homepage designs, this theme is perfect for musicians, bands, radio shows, clubs, DJs and music-related websites. It comes with a stack of features including functionality for events, discography, galleries, blogging and online shopping.

Multipurpose Themes

This image-driven theme is ideal for sites that feature lots of photography, such as creative agencies, photographers and artists. There are lots of awesome features like WooCommerce integration, portfolio and blog templates, plus it’s retina-ready.

This bold theme comes with so many colorful homepage design choices it’s hard to choose just one! This theme can be easily customized to suit the look and feel of your branding using a combination of the powerful admin interface and WPBakery Page Builder. There are lots of portfolio variations and styles included.

Gullu offers a fresh and professional vibe that’s perfect for businesses looking to make their mark online. It comes with 19+ pages and 3 homepage variations. All the PSD files are included so you can make the most of the cute graphics and colors that really make this theme pop.

There’s a lot to love about Zyra. With its soft pastel look and large typography, it’s a modern winner. But when you look under the bonnet there’s so much creative choice – 15 homepage designs, 6 header layouts, plus lots of blog, portfolio, team and testimonial styles.

If you run a creative business and you want to present your work in an interesting way, Veso could be for you. It features a horizontal design, 12 homepage layouts you can install in one click, and hundreds of theme options so you can customize it ‘til your heart’s content.

Niche WordPress Themes

Bauhaus is a fantastic theme worth checking out for architecture and interior design firms. Its minimal approach to design is impressive, to say the least. Plus, there are lots of great design treatments, including pre-built pages, and light and dark styles.

It’s the small details that really make this theme – the squiggles, underlined typography and splashes of color. Blush is a great option if you’re looking for a theme to build out an online makeup or fashion store. It’s WooCommerce compatible, and comes with lots of eCommerce goodies, including tons of shortcodes for customizing how your store operates.

A solid theme for factory and industrial-type businesses that want to establish their presence online. If you like the look of this theme, you can get started right away with one-click install and then tweak the content using drag and drop.

This theme is better experienced live. The screenshot just doesn’t do it justice. When you hover over the images, they animate, adding color and movement to the design. It’s really cool. There’s a lot more to like about this theme – the ridiculous number of homepage designs (34 in total), the different navigation and blog styles, not to mention the fact it’s fast-loading.

Portfolio and Creative Themes

We’ve featured this theme before, but here it is again because it’s so well-designed. There are 17 different homepage designs to choose from, whether you’re looking for something for your portfolio, agency or service-based website. It’s also infinitely customizable and there’s one-click import so you can get started right away tailoring your favorite demo.

I’m a big fan of Fusion and its subtle animation. The “Freelancer” demo features an animated background, adding depth to the page. When you scroll through the portfolio, the images light up as you hover over them, indicating that you can click through to see more. When you reach the bottom, the primary CTA lights up on hover, encouraging users to take action and get in touch.

This straight up portfolio theme covers the basics well. There’s a nice amount of space up top to describe yourself and your mission statement, a sortable masonry grid layout for your work, and easy drag and drop customization.

From it’s classy color scheme to its sortable masonry grid portfolio design and bold header, this theme is as solid as they come if you’re looking for a portfolio design to showcase your work. There are also lots of lovely small details, such as animations and microinteractions that help take this theme to another level.

Featuring 12 stunning homepage styles, this WordPress theme is made specifically for designers and architects. It has a strong focus on bringing high quality images to the forefront. Using Ambient’s set of predesigned, easily customizable homepage layouts, you’ll launch your website in no time. 

Blog Themes

This theme features a thoughtful design that includes all the elements you’d want in a sidebar without feeling cluttered. Plus, this theme is fully customizable so you can pick and choose what you want in your sidebar.

Here’s an elegant choice for the lifestyle bloggers out there. Alder features a gorgeous minimalist layout and all the features you need for a successful blog, including social media integration, big imagery and modern typography.

The understated feel of Bjorn sets the perfect tone for thoughtful content that informs and entertains your followers. This theme makes great use of images, especially in the sliding header, and looks fantastic on any device, especially mobiles.

I love how sassy this GIF-friendly theme is. There’s so much going on, and at the same time it’s so well-designed and laid out that it’s not at all confusing. There are various gradient backgrounds you can choose from and multiple blog post designs. It’s also compatible with WooCommerce if you plan on setting up an online store.

This beautiful blog theme is absolutely ideal for lifestyle bloggers who want an elegant look. The typography is stunning, the images crisp, and all the little details like social media icons, comments and author profiles are just gorgeous.

Conclusion

This list is just a very small collection of what you’ll find in our theme marketplace. There are plenty more beautiful and functional WordPress themes to choose from if you didn’t find a theme you liked in the list above. Don’t forget to check out our collection of tutorials to learn more about working with WordPress.

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Master These Awesome New Skills in January 2018 https://envato.com/blog/best-online-design-courses/ Wed, 27 Dec 2017 20:57:48 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=55304 Why not learn a new skill in January? Get inspired with these fantastic new courses and tutorials.

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Forget New Year’s resolutions. Instead of vague good intentions, why not start 2018 with some solid actions to move your career or creativity forward, like learning some useful new skills?

Here’s a roundup of some courses and tutorials in the fields of graphic design, web design, coding, photography, and business. Many of these resources are free, and others are included in a subscription to Envato Elements. So there’s nothing stopping you from picking up a valuable new skill this month.

1. Master Photo Manipulation Techniques

Egyptian goddess photo manipulation

The great thing about photo manipulation is that if, like me, you can’t draw to save your life, you can still create some amazing scenes like the one above, just by merging photos together and applying some effects. There’s a bit more to it than that, of course, but this tutorial breaks it all down into easy steps. So why not learn photo manipulation today?

2. Make a Professional Resume in 10 Minutes

Resume building in Photoshop

Along with making New Year’s resolutions, another popular activity at this time of year is making a new career move. If you need to update your resume to propel you towards that dream job in 2018, this short course is for you. Building on a professional template from Envato Elements, you’ll learn how to create a resume that is clean, targeted, and highlights your skills and abilities. Take the course to give your career a boost this month.

3. Learn Natural Language Processing (NLP) in iOS 11

NLP tweet analyzing app

Machine learning is a hot topic right now, and it’s only going to get more important as time goes on and the possibilities and capabilities of the technology multiply. This tutorial will help you surf the crest of the wave by introducing you to natural language processing, a key element of machine learning. Essentially, it’s the means by which computers understand human speech—not just grasping the basic meaning, but doing complex things like analysing sentiment and pulling out key information. Read the tutorial to find out more about how it works and to get some practice using it in iOS 11.

4. Take Better Photos by Knowing the Sun’s Position

Calculate the sun's position with SunCalc

We’ve all seen great photos ruined by the sun being in the wrong place—usually right behind our beautiful subject, making it into a silhouette shorn of all its details. Of course, the sun is never really in the “wrong place” at all. It moves predictably around the sky, and there will be a time of day—or a different season—in which you can get the shot you want. Read the tutorial to find out how you can use a simple web app to plan your photography shoots with the sun in mind.

5. Design a Mobile UI in Sketch

Mobile UI design in Sketch

Sketch is a powerful digital design application, and it’s perfectly suited to those who design user interfaces for web or mobile apps. In this course, you’ll learn how to create a mobile UI design in Sketch, working from an initial wireframe all the way through to a completed design.

6. Make a Climate Change Infographic

Climate Change Infographic in Adobe InDesign

Here’s an idea for the New Year: do something to help future generations have a habitable planet on which to make and break their own resolutions. An infographic is a great way to communicate complex information and statistics in an engaging way, and this tutorial teaches you how to create one in Adobe InDesign. Find out how it’s done.

7. Build a Branding Package the Easy Way

Making a Facebook cover

Branding is a powerful tool for building a company’s reputation—some of the major world brands are worth billions of dollars. Having a consistent and professional branding package across print and web can really help set a business apart from its competitors. This course teaches you how to create this package on a budget by using Envato Elements and Affinity Designer. You’ll produce a logo, branding colors, a customized website, a business card, a Facebook cover design, and more. Get started here.

8. Create an Android Music Player App With Anko

Create a Music Player App With Anko

Anko is a Kotlin library that makes it easier to build Android apps. What better way to learn it than by getting your hands dirty building a music player app that can automatically pick and play random songs from the user’s device? It’s quite a complex app, but the tutorial makes it easy to understand. Get the full instructions and code.

9. Design for Visual Impairment

Example of an accessibility browser plugin being used to change the contrast of a web page

If you have a website or do any kind of design work for the web, you should be conscious of how to design sites that everyone can view easily—including the millions of people with color blindness, low vision, blindness, or other visual impairments. If you’re not, or if you need a refresher, then read this accessibility tutorial to make sure you’re not inadvertently excluding potential visitors and customers through simple but common design flaws.

10. Learn the Fundamentals of JavaScript

JavaScript fundamentals

There are lots of JavaScript tutorials and courses out there on the web, but many of them deal with a particular aspect of the language and assume some pre-existing general knowledge. It’s quite rare to find a systematic guide that teaches you the language from the ground up. This JavaScript Fundamentals course does exactly that. It starts with the basic concepts and builds slowly over the course of 7 hours and 61 separate lessons to teach you more complex topics and show you how to use JavaScript in practice. If you want to code for the web, you need a solid understanding of JavaScript, and this course is perfect. Take the course to start learning today!

Want to Learn More?

If these new courses and tutorials aren’t enough for you, check out the full Tuts+ library of more than 1,000 courses and 24,000 tutorials. There’s sure to be something there for you. Or have a look at these recommendations from previous months to get some more inspiration.

Create Your Own Color Font

Make a color font

In case you haven’t heard the news yet, color fonts are shaping up to be one of the hottest design trends of 2018. This tutorial teaches you how to create your very own color font using the latest version of Adobe Illustrator and the powerful Fontself extension. So why not learn this important new design skill?

Learn Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer

Speaking of new skills, have you tried Gravit Designer yet? It’s a completely free vector application that was launched earlier this year. It’s available in the browser as well as on Linux, Mac, ChromeOS and Windows, making it arguably the most accessible application of its type in the world. Learn how to use it in this thorough introductory course.

Build a Slack Bot With Python

Slack Bot with Python

If you do any kind of online collaboration, you’ve probably come across Slack. It’s used by over 50,000 companies—and yep, Envato is one of those. This tutorial shows you the code and takes you through all the steps to build your own unique integration with Slack, using Python for the logic. Learn the steps here.

Master PowerPoint Templates

Use PPT templates

We all know that a presentation looks smarter and more coherent when we use a well-designed template, don’t we? But getting the most out of a PowerPoint template is another story. This in-depth video course shows you how to create a polished presentation from start to finish, using the popular X Note template as an example. So take the course and move your presentations to the next level.

Speed Up Your Design Process With Studio

Studio

More new design software for you to learn. Studio is a free online UI design tool, ideal for web designers or anyone else designing for digital products. Watch the video to get up to speed with Studio quickly and easily.

Stabilise Your Video Footage

Stabilise video

Have you ever taken some great video footage, only to find that it is too shaky to be usable? Unless you use a tripod or have the steady hands of a neurosurgeon, the answer is probably yes. Luckily, Apple’s Final Cut Pro X has stabilization processing built in. Find out how to stabilise your video footage in this video tutorial.

Understand Basic Typography

Typography terms

Any designer will tell you that typography is crucial to good design. From company brands to newspaper headlines to advertisements to websites, you can see the power of typography in action everywhere. But, like any specialised field, typography has its own vocabulary, which can be confusing for beginners. Watch this 60-second typography video to learn how to tell your counters from your spines and your stems from your shoulders.

Type International Characters More Quickly

International characters

If you often switch between different languages (or if you just enjoy using words like “smörgåsbord”), you’ve probably encountered the annoying situation of taking ages to type a letter with an accent that’s not included on your standard keyboard. On a Mac, of course, you can hold down the key and see a range of common accents, but that can still take a while. There’s a better way, involving automation apps. Learn the shortcuts here.

Design Icons With Adobe XD

Adobe XD icon design

In the wake of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all of the associated consumer frenzy, you may well be sick of 2 for 1 deals. But this course offers genuine value, by allowing you both to brush up your icon design skills and to learn Adobe XD at the same time. Take the course to get instructions on using Adobe XD to design a range of useful icons.

Learn to Code Securely in Swift 4

Secure coding in Swift

If you want to create apps for Apple devices from watches to iPhones, Swift is the programming language to use. With version 4 only released a few months ago, now is the perfect time to get up to speed with secure coding in Swift 4. Read the in-depth tutorial to learn about concurrency, race conditions, Grand Central Dispatch, and more.

Master PHP

Fundamentals of PHP

Take a look at your favourite website. There’s a good chance that it was built with PHP. This powerful programming language created a big proportion of the web, and it’s easy to learn and easy to use for writing web applications. In this comprehensive, seven-hour video course, you’ll learn all the fundamentals of PHP, from the basics of using variables and writing loops and functions up to coding classes for simple object-oriented programming (OOP). Along the way, you’ll learn all the most important skills for writing apps for the web. Take the course to get started building your own web applications.

Create an Inspirational Photo Grid for Instagram

Photo grid for Instagram

You’ve probably seen them before—those grids of beautiful photos, often accompanied by an inspirational message. This tutorial shows you how to create them yourself, either in Photoshop or with a simple grid-building app. It’s quite easy, and the results can be impressive. So why not give it a try?

Draw a Mandala

Draw a mandala

This tutorial hits the trifecta—you can learn a new skill, explore your creativity, and relax at the same time! What’s not to like? Drawing a mandala can be very therapeutic, and although it looks complex, it’s actually quite simple to do. So learn all the steps and start sharpening your drawing skills while relaxing your mind.

Use Gulp to Speed Up Your Web Design Work

Using Gulp for Web Design

If you’re a web designer, you’ll want to learn about Gulp, a simple JavaScript task runner that can really speed up your work and save you a lot of time. Take this in-depth course to discover what Gulp is, how it works, and how you can set up some super-efficient workflows for handling CSS files, JavaScript files, images, and more.

Pay Tribute to a Hitchcock Classic

Vertigo movie poster tribute

I love old movie posters from the 1950s and 60s. The tools available to designers back then were so much simpler, but there were no limits to their creativity, and some of the results were just fantastic. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a movie poster paying tribute to the classic Vertigo poster designed by Saul Bass. You’ll learn a lot about Adobe InDesign along the way, while also doing some Photoshop and Illustrator work. So get started on this wonderful project, and upload your own version in the comments for others to take a look at.

Confront the Command Line

Terminal

If you use a Mac, you’ve probably come across the “Terminal” icon, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably ignored it. But the Terminal gives you unfettered access to the deeper reaches of your Mac via the command line (if you remember MS-DOS, think of that classic C:\> prompt and the commands you used to enter). You can do some pretty useful things that just aren’t possible with the usual graphic interface (such as “caffeinating” your Mac). So take this beginners’ tutorial to discover some nifty examples and get started using the command line.

Design a Landing Page With Adobe XD

Adobe XD landing page

It’s still quite early days for Adobe XD, Adobe’s user experience design software, which only came out of beta a few weeks ago. So why not be one of the early adopters? This course shows you how to use Adobe XD to wireframe and design a landing page from start to finish. Take the course and build your skills in this useful application.

Create a Spirit Day Text Effect

Create a Spirit Day text effect

Envato Tuts+ ran quite a few tutorials and articles last month to mark Spirit Day. Although the day has now passed, this tutorial will still teach you some useful skills for creating text effects in Adobe Illustrator. Plus you’ll be prepared for next year’s event, which will probably come around again sooner than you expect! Find out how to create the effect.

Childproof Your iPad

Childproof your iPad

Those newspaper stories about kids running up huge credit-card bills on their parents’ iPads are fun, aren’t they? But they’re probably not so much fun for the parents involved. If you have kids or know someone who has kids, there’s a high chance that your beloved iPad will fall into their hands one day. So take this tutorial and find out how to protect your iPad from damage (both internal and external), as well as protecting kids from coming across bad stuff on the internet.

Learn the Kotlin Programming Language

Kotlin fundamentals

Kotlin is a new programming language for coding Android apps, and it’s way more concise and secure than traditional languages like Java. This course teaches you everything you need to know to get started coding in Kotlin, from the basics of getting set up and writing your first code right through to advanced features like lambdas, higher-order functions, and using Java and Kotlin together in the same app. Take the course and add a powerful new language to your toolkit.

Learn Creative Typography

Creative Typography course

Think of creative designs, and maybe you think of a creative use of images, shapes, and colour. But you can do a lot with plain old letters, and this course shows you how. You get to play with typography and develop your creativity as you create a concept-driven typographic artwork. Take the course to give your creativity a boost this month.

Turn Your Cat Into a Zombie

Zombie cat

Yes, Halloween is coming around again, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to turn your cat into a zombie. In fact, this tutorial shows you how to turn any portrait, whether human or animal, into a terrifying, dead-eyed, blood-spattered zombie. Even if you hate Halloween as much as I do, you’ll still pick up some useful Photoshop techniques in this one. So take the zombie-making tutorial and see how it’s done.

Beef Up Your WordPress Security

WordPress security tips

If, like me, you run a WordPress site, you probably alternate between feeling good about the number of websites that use your chosen platform (currently 28% of the web and rising) and feeling worried about the constant security threats. Take this short course to learn the key steps you should take to make your WordPress site much more secure.

Create an Android App That Recognizes Images

Image recognition app

OK, the simple app created here doesn’t look as good as the zombie cat, does it? Fair enough. But once you’ve learned the skill of incorporating image recognition into an Android app, there are so many possibilities for more complex apps. This tutorial shows you how to use machine learning to recognize the content of images with the IBM Watson Visual Recognition service. Get the step-by-step instructions and code samples here.

Draw a Monkey

Draw a monkey

Drawing tutorials can be frustrating—they sometimes seem to be written for people who already know how to draw. But this tutorial is truly for beginners, and it breaks the whole process down into simple shapes like ovals, curves, and crosses. It’s a great way of learning to draw, and it may just help you see the structures behind objects so that you can draw things other than monkeys. Read the full instructions.

Optimize Your Website Without AMP

Optimize a Website without AMP

Google’s AMP is awesome! It’s a great way of optimizing your website with simple plug-and-play code. Why would you want to optimize a site without it? Well, actually there are several reasons, and you’ll learn more about them in this course. You’ll also learn exactly how to convert an existing AMP-based site to use non-AMP equivalents, helping you to make your site blazing fast while keeping total control. Take the course to find out more.

Make a Professional Business Card in 10 Steps

Design a business card in Adobe Indesign

Lots of people just use generic business cards, but if you really want to make an impression, it’s much better to do it yourself. You get a chance to showcase your creativity while ensuring your business card sticks out from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be complicated either—this tutorial shows you how to create a great-looking business card from scratch in Adobe InDesign in just ten steps. Find out how.

Create a Job Board Website With WordPress

job board website

A job board is a great type of website to build for any industry or niche—it allows you to provide really useful information (everybody likes to be able to find job opportunities), and your traffic and referrals can grow fast. This tutorial shows you how to create one using a WordPress theme and some simple customisation, with no coding skills required. Start creating your job board website here.

Use Swift Design Patterns

Swift design patterns

In the world of coding, design patterns are incredibly useful ways of solving common problems that arise in development. But they can be abstract and hard to grasp for beginners, and you can end up struggling to tell your factory from your facade. This comprehensive, 24-video, 3.5-hour course will set it all straight, with detailed explanations and examples of how each pattern can be used in the Swift programming language. Take the course here.

Create a Plastic Jelly Style

Plastic jelly style

Wait, doesn’t that style look a bit dated? More 2007 than 2017? Yes, well spotted! This last tutorial is a bit of a nostalgia trip. Tuts+ turned 10 years old in September, and to celebrate, we decided to recreate the very first tutorial on the site, by Envato founder Collis Ta’eed, but this time using up-to-date techniques in the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite. So step back in time with us, and start making plastic jelly like it’s 2007!

Create an Android Instant App Feature

How to Create an Instant App Feature

If you’re not up to speed with Android’s new Instant Apps feature yet, this tutorial is ideal for you. Instant Apps let people load entire sections of your app on demand, just by tapping a URL and without having to download the full app. This gives you a great opportunity to get your app in front of as many new users as possible. Learn how to create an Android instant app feature here.

Create a Modern Business Card Using Adobe Photoshop

Create a business card in Photoshop

Yes, we do live in a world of social media and online connections, but a good printed business card is still as important to today’s freelancer or business owner as it was to Don Draper in Mad Men. Learn how to create your own professional business card design in this step-by-step Photoshop tutorial.

Use Linux for Web Design

Linux for Web Design

If you’re a web designer, your choices are not limited to macOS or Windows. You can also work very effectively in Linux, and in fact there are some real advantages to doing so. Take the course to find out all about using Linux for web design.

Improve Your Email Open Rates

Increase email open rates

No matter what kind of work you do, I’m willing to bet that you send emails, and that you want people to open them. This tutorial shows you 10 simple steps you can take to improve your email open rates. Who knew that the way you capitalise your subject line can make more people open the email? I didn’t, but the data suggests it’s true. Read the tutorial to discover all 10 email tips.

Create an AI-Powered Chatbot

Create a chatbot

Artificial intelligence is here—and I’m not talking about those dumb social media algorithms that collect masses of data on you and yet still can’t arrange your feed in the right order. I’m talking about chatbots that can hold increasingly realistic conversations with us. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a simple conversational chatbot using the IBM Watson Conversation service. The best part, for me, is the way it serves up inspirational quotes. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Learn About HDR Photography in 60 Seconds

What is HDR photography?

Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of time to spend learning something new. But everyone can spare a minute, can’t they? That’s the idea behind the Tuts+ 60-second videos—you learn a new skill or technique in just one minute. In this one, you’ll get an introduction to HDR photography. Watch the 60-second video here.

Create a Surreal Photo Manipulation

Surreal photo manipulation

What do you get if you take a photo of the sky, put it in Photoshop, and add photos of a cat, a wall, some trees and a bunch of fish on top? The result, for most of us, will be an amateurish mess. But with the techniques covered in this tutorial, you’ll get the bizarre, impossible and yet weirdly realistic scene shown above. Click here to learn how it’s done.

Learn React Through 5 Practical Examples

Five Practical Examples to Learn React

React is one of the most popular web frameworks, and if you want to learn to use it, what better way than through some practical examples? In this course, you’ll build a digital clock, an Ajax-powered navbar and more, and in the process you’ll learn all the basics of coding React components from JSX and managing state right through to higher-order components and lifecycle methods. Sign up for the course.

Understand How the WordPress Loop Works

The WordPress Loop

If you’ve been working with WordPress for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the Loop. But do you really understand what it is and how to use it? This short, ten-minute Coffee Break Course will get you fully up to speed. Start learning about the WordPress Loop.

Create Your Own Stress Cave

Stress Cave

It’s great to learn new technologies and computer skills, but it’s no use having these skills if you’re too unproductive to use them. In a busy work day, it’s easy to get derailed by stress and its close companion, procrastination. So read this quick productivity tip to learn how to take a step back into the stress cave and take some simple steps to help you see the right way forward.

Create a Haunting Photo Manipulation

Surreal photo manipulation scene

Photo manipulation is a wonderful way to create whole new worlds from your imagination, without needing to draw or paint anything yourself. In this tutorial, you learn how to take seven different photos and blend them together into one weirdly haunting scene. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Animate Icons!

Create animated icons

Sometimes good design is eye-catching, but other times it’s almost unnoticeable. A well-designed icon may not win any great plaudits, but it’s one of the little details that adds up to a better user experience for your website, app, game, presentation, etc. So why not take things to the next level by adding animation. Take the short video-based course for full instructions on creating icons in Adobe Illustrator and then animating them in After Effects.

Draw Hair in 4 Different Styles

How to Draw Hair

Did you know that the average human head has about 100,000 individual hairs? What that means is that if you want to draw someone’s hair, you can’t draw separate lines for each strand—you need to learn some tricks to create the illusion of 100,000 hairs while using far fewer lines. Take this drawing tutorial to see how it’s done.

Get Up and Running With Sketch

Sketch course

Most of these design tutorials and courses use Adobe software because it’s so popular and offers so many features. But Adobe is not the only game in town. Take this comprehensive, 17-part video course to get up and running with Sketch, a powerful digital design application that’s great for icon design, web design, and more.

Learn the Quick Way to Create Professional Logos

Create a logo kit

Have you ever had one of those annoying clients who demands double the work in half the time? Of course you have. Here’s a trick for icon designers: have a few flexible logo kits ready to customise so that you can meet even the tightest deadline. Take this short course to learn how to create the three building blocks of a successful logo kit.

Paint “Love” in Sign Language

Love in sign language

OK, I’ll be honest—I’m mostly just including this one because I love the end result. But it does also teach some really useful digital painting skills. Look at the dramatic lighting and the realistic textures of each hand; those are some techniques you could use in a wide variety of projects. See how to create this painting from scratch.

Make an Animated GIF

Create an animated GIF

Whether you love them or hate them, animated GIFs are all over the web. This tutorial shows you an easy method of putting together an animated GIF in Adobe Photoshop. The example is of a wolf’s glowing eyes, but feel free to use the same techniques for laughing dogs, weird celebrity mashups, or whatever your heart desires. Start animating your GIFs here.

Go Back to the Nineties

Nineties flyer

The 1990s are popular again! Who knew? As far as I remember, the 1990s weren’t even popular in the 1990s. But if those headache-inducing colours and shouting fonts give you a flood of happy nostalgia, this is your chance to step back in time to the days of oversized cargo pants, overused fluorescent colours, and Hootie & the Blowfish. (Oh, and you can also learn some useful flyer design skills in Adobe InDesign.) Enter the time machine here.

Send a Ransom Note

Ransom note text effect

Well, no—don’t actually send a ransom note, OK? That would be creepy. But this tutorial does teach some useful skills to help you manipulate fonts and work with shapes and textures in Photoshop to create a realistic text effect. Take the tutorial to learn how it works.

Create a Realistic Mockup

Create a wine bottle mockup

If you’ve ever worked in product or packaging design, you know the importance of a good mockup. Clients often struggle to see the potential of a design until you show them how it will look in the real world. This final tutorial in our list teaches you to create your own wine-bottle mockup from scratch in Photoshop. Along the way, you’ll learn how to manipulate photos, create realistic shadows and reflections, add lighting, and more. Ready to get started? Click here for the full instructions.

Publish Facebook Instant Articles

Create Facebook Instant Articles

OK, it’s true that Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature has been controversial, and you may not love the idea of having your content living on Facebook’s platform instead of your own. But the advantage is that readers get to access your articles at a lightning-fast speed, and your content fits in seamlessly with the Facebook app, making for a great user experience. And whereas at first it was only for large publishers, now it’s available for all of us. Get a step-by-step guide to publishing Instant Articles in this tutorial.

Master Affinity Designer

Learn Affinity Designer

Just when Adobe seemed to have the vector design market locked down, along came Affinity Designer a couple of years ago, winning a whole host of new admirers among web designers and graphic designers. If you haven’t tried it yet, this course is a perfect way to find out what all the fuss is about. You’ll learn Affinity Designer from the ground up—and the course was recently updated to cover new features like artboards, constraints, symbols, and some powerful new typography tools.

Use Style Guides for Accessibility

Accessibility style guide

Keeping your skills current is not just about learning new technologies. It’s also about important concepts like accessibility. Making your sites accessible to as many people as possible is not just the right thing to do; it also makes business sense. You work hard to attract visitors, so why turn some of them away because you’ve failed to make the simple changes that would allow them to view your site? I like this quick tutorial because it shows you how to create a style guide for accessibility, while also introducing you to some important accessibility concepts and techniques along the way.

Build an Onboarding Tour Using JavaScript

JavaScript onboarding tour

I don’t much like the word “onboarding”, but I do love those interactive tours that pop up when you visit a new site or app, showing you how everything works with simple boxes that you can click through (or click out of) at your own pace. This short course shows you how to build your own tour from scratch, using HTML, CSS, and vanilla JavaScript.

Design Better Logos

Logo design in Adobe Illustrator

Logo design is one of those things that may well be handled by a specialist graphic designer, but it’s always a useful skill for a web designer to possess. You’ll also get a useful rundown of the major tools, panels and features in Adobe Illustrator, which will be useful for other design tasks beyond logos.

Manipulate Colors in JavaScript

Chromajs

It’s good to learn new skills, but it’s even better to build something useful. This screencast ticks both of those boxes. Take a look at the demo—a neat little tool that lets you select a starting color and have a tasteful color scheme generated for you. You’ll learn how to create that yourself, using the Chroma.js library.

Get Hands-On Practice With the CSS Flexbox Model

Flexbox slider

Flexbox is a relatively new layout mode in CSS3, and as the name suggests, it can give you some wonderful flexibility in your page layouts. This popular course lets you get your hands dirty by tackling six projects designed to help you learn Flexbox thoroughly. And now it’s been updated with two more bonus projects on modals and sliders, so it’s an even better way of getting up to speed.

Work Better With Other People

Collaborate on website content

No matter how well you know the ins and outs of CSS, the reality of working as a web designer is that you’ll have to deal with other human beings at some point, and that’s when things can get so complicated that you end up yearning for the comfort of your code editor. This tutorial looks at some useful ways to get the content of a website prioritized among multiple members of a team with the least fuss.

Build Forms With CSS Grid

CSS Grid form

Yes, I know. Forms are not the most exciting topic in the world, are they? But the attraction of this tutorial is not the forms, but the way you create them—using the CSS Grid Layout Module, another quite recent addition to the web designer’s arsenal. It shows you how to create a form the “traditional” way, using floats, and then how to achieve the same end result using CSS Grid.

Get a Refresher on the Basics

Web design pointers

With so much new stuff to learn, sometimes it’s valuable to go back to basics and make sure you’ve still got a solid grasp of the essentials. Or maybe you’re just getting started and want to avoid some of the most common mistakes. Either way, these 10 simple design pointers from Tuts+ Web Design Editor Ian Yates will help you make sure you’re on the right track.

Keep Your Mac Efficient and Well Maintained

Mac maintenance

Have you ever taken your Mac to an Apple store and seen the “genius” running a diagnostic test on your computer? This post shows you how to run that test yourself and interpret the results, as well as checking the health of your hard drive—all without the help of a lanyard-wearing hipster genius.

Design a Vintage Music Festival Flyer

Music festival flyer

Here in the northern hemisphere, summer is just around the corner, and festival season will soon be in full swing. I love the summer colours and the vintage VW campervan in this design—but more importantly, the tutorial teaches you some great skills in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. If you’re shivering in the southern hemisphere right now, just think of this one as forward planning.

Add MailChimp Signup to Your WordPress Site

MailChimp WordPress form

Some Tuts+ courses are several hours long and cover lots of ground, but this one is very short (just six minutes) and very simple. It teaches you something that sounds straightforward but can cause headaches if it’s not done right—how to add a MailChimp signup form to your WordPress site. In six minutes, you can get your site fully set up to start gathering email subscribers. Not bad, huh?

Know When to Fly Your Drone

When to fly your drone

I love watching aerial video footage. There’s something so calming and majestic about seeing the world from the perspective of a bird. In this video tutorial, you can learn about the best times of day to fly your drone for filming purposes (and in a companion tutorial, you can learn about the pros and cons of different weather conditions). I’m sure it’s all useful information, but I like the tutorials purely for the eye candy.

Make an Explainer Video

Explainer video

Have you noticed that explainer videos are everywhere? And they all have the same annoyingly cheery music? In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to put together a good explainer video for your company or personal site. My one gripe is that it’s a written tutorial—being a fan of recursion, I’d have preferred an explainer video on how to make explainer videos. But it’s still a good post. Check it out.

Convert a Photo Into a Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal drawing Photoshop action

Charcoal drawings look amazing, but creating them involves both getting your hands dirty and spending years on the painstaking and often frustrating process of learning to draw. This video shows you how to skip both of these steps and just create a cool charcoal drawing from any photo with a simple Photoshop action.

Create a Split-Screen Slider With JavaScript

Splitscreen slider

I love the split-screen effect here—as you drag your mouse across an image, a line splits the screen and it changes from colour to duotone. Try the demo at the top of the tutorial to see how it works! Then you can learn the process of creating it, with both a screencast and written instructions to make it easy to understand.

Design Buttons, Textures and Icons for Video Games

Design game UI assets

The thing about what video-game designers call “UI assets” (and the rest of us call “buttons, icons and stuff”) is that, if they’re designed well, you probably don’t even notice them. But if they look clunky, they can ruin the gaming experience. This course teaches you how to design them well. Plus the aesthetic reminds me of playing The Secret of Monkey Island as a child. Remember Guybrush Threepwood, anyone?

Master PHP

Learn PHP

If you want to get started as a web developer, this comprehensive course is the place to start. It takes you through the whole process of learning PHP, from setting up a development server on your computer and writing your first line of code right through to creating a working PHP application and interacting with a MySQL database.

Record Vocals Like a Professional

Record vocals

Want to be the next Lana Del Rey or Justin Bieber? Or maybe you even have some more up-to-date cultural references. In any case, this tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to record professional vocals using just your computer and some simple equipment. Then you’ll be well on your way to YouTube stardom—all you need to do next is….

Make a YouTube Banner

YouTube banner

Even with the most professionally recorded vocals, some of your potential fans may be put off if your YouTube banner looks as if it was designed by a hyperactive child with unsupervised access to Microsoft Paint. This tutorial teaches you to put together a simple banner for a YouTube channel using stock images and basic tools in Adobe Photoshop.

Draw a Skull

Draw a skull

Macabre? Perhaps. But what I like about this tutorial is that you can produce a great end result even if you have zero drawing skill (yes, that would be me!). Monika Zagrobelna breaks the whole process down into such simple steps that you really can’t go wrong. If you can draw lines and circles and have access to a pencil, you can draw a convincing human skull.

Tell Your “em” From Your “rem”

em and rem

If you’ve even dabbled in web design, you’ve probably come across the “em” and “rem” units of measurement. But what are they? What’s the difference, and when might you want to use each one? This one-hour course will get you crystal clear.

Solve Android’s Most Common Error Messages

Android error messages

Stumped by a ClassCastException? Tearing your hair out over a missing R.layout.main? Wondering who in Android-land thought that “Only the Original Thread That Created a View Hierarchy Can Touch Its Views” would be a helpful error message to give to human beings? This article demystifies 13 of the most common error messages to plague Android developers.

Hit Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero

I’ve saved the best for last. While we may love to be able to draw, paint, create apps or become a YouTube star, I think a lot of us would settle for an empty email inbox. This tutorial will teach you how to reach the “You have no messages” promised land. You can also grab a free eBook for more detailed email mastery tips.

There’s More…

This post has just skimmed the surface of what Tuts+ has published recently, and in the full archives going back ten years, there’s even more. So if you don’t see what you’re looking for in this post, you can search the full Tuts+ library of more than 1,000 courses and 24,000 tutorials to find exactly what you need.

The post Master These Awesome New Skills in January 2018 appeared first on Envato.

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WordPress 2017: The Year in Review https://envato.com/blog/wordpress-2017-year-review/ Tue, 19 Dec 2017 21:13:41 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=62763 2017 – it’s been a big year full of shifts in the WordPress ecosystem: acquisitions, new versions of WordPress and, of course, some controversy.

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Today, I wanted to take some time out to look back at the major milestones, news and trends have shaped WordPress throughout this year, the theme and plugins trends that have evolved throughout the year, and also look at what to expect for WordPress in 2018.

WordPress in 2017: The Milestones

March: WordPress Plugin Directory Gets a New Look

The WordPress.org Plugin Directory.

The WordPress.org plugin directory was relaunched with a brand new design and an improved search algorithm after almost a year in the making. While the redesign was welcomed with mostly positive feedback, there were some initial hiccups around how plugin stats were displayed and the tabbed layout.

WordPress contributors also said they felt their feedback was ignored despite the WordPress Meta Team consulting with the community. But after a few more iterations of the redesign and useful updates for plugin authors, the consensus now is that the redesign was a success.

June: WordPress 4.8 Released

New widgets in WordPress 4.8. Credit:WordPress.org.

Named in honor of jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans, WordPress 4.8 delivered admin improvements that some might describe as minor, but if you ask me they’ve made my life using WordPress so much easier.

The most visible features included link improvements, 3 new media widgets covering images, audio, and video, an updated text widget that with visual editing support, and an upgraded news section for the dashboard displaying nearby and upcoming WordPress events.

For developers, this version didn’t disappoint. It delivered more accessible admin panel headings, Multisite updates, a text editor JavaScript API and a media widgets API.

As usual, there were lots of fantastic volunteers who contributed to this version – 346, in fact – including 106 who were contributing for the first time.

June: WordCamp Europe in Paris

WordCamp Europe 2017 was held in Paris, France.

Despite being promoted as “the largest WordPress event to this day” with more than 3,000 expected attendees, WordCamp Europe fell short with just 1,900 people actually attending the two-day conference in Paris. Compared to WCEU in Vienna in 2016, there were 5% fewer people. Organizers blamed the relatively low attended on a 24% no-show rate, selling tickets too early and the expensive French location.

Still, those who did attend had an amazing time meeting friends and colleagues and, of course, learning from the excellent presentations on offers. Many, many WordPress folks shared their memories in wrap-up posts you can find on the WordCamp Europe 2017 website.

WordCamp Europe 2019 will be held in Belgrade, Serbia.

June: Gutenberg Released for Beta Testing

The Gutenberg editor.

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg launched Gutenberg at WordCamp Europe and ever since it has caused a stir in the community. Matt Cromwell from WordImpress.com was th efirst to share his impressions of the project, which aims to replace the visual/text editor in WordPress with a new post and page building experience that uses blocks.

A lot of other people have shared their opinions about the plugin, both good and bad, even prompting Mullenweg to defend the project. At one point, it was anticipated the plugin would be merged with WordPress 4.9, but work on improving it as a standalone feature-as-a-plugin continues.

While there have been big advances in how it functions and performs, a lot of work still needs to be done if it is going to really transform how we work in the backend of WordPress to publish online – and help the CMS compete with platforms like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly.

No doubt there will be more strong opinions about the project as the team behind it works towards including it in WordPress 5.0.

September: WordPress Reacts to React – and Wins

Drop it like it’s hot: WordPress said it would stop using React.

The Gutenberg team started looking for a new JavaScript library, albeit briefly, after Mullenweg announced the WordPress community would stop using Facebook’s React JavaScript library over concerns about a patent clause in the social media giant’s open source license.

In a blog post, Mullenweg explained he had hoped to officially adopt React for WordPress, given that Automattic had already used React for its WordPress.com app Calypso, and contributors had started using it for Gutenberg.

It didn’t take long for Facebook to do an about-face. Just a week later the company re-license React due to the backlash from the open source community.

November: WordPress 4.9 Released

WordPress 4.9 featured new site-building improvements. Credit:WordPress.org.

The latest version of WordPress, named “Tipton” in honor of jazz musician and band leader Billy Tipson, features a stack of updates designed to help publishers and improve the software’s performance.

The Customizer has been given a big update with all-new design drafts, scheduling, locking and preview links. There’s also code syntax highlighting and error checking aimed at creating a smoother site building experience. Other additions include a new gallery widget and improvements to theme browsing and switching.

December: WordCamp US in Nashville

The dust has only started to settle after WordCamp US on December 1-3, but by all accounts it was a huge success. Mullenweg delivered his annual State of the Word address, which highlighted the achievements of the past year while setting the direction for the year ahead for WordPress.

The big news was that WordPress has grown another 2%+ this year – it now powers 29.1% of the web. Mullenweg said he planned to keep his “lead hat” on for another year and see the Gutenberg project through all the way to inclusion in the core WordPress software.

WordPress Themes in 2017: The Design Trends

Trends can also say a lot about the times. Trends ebb and flow in web design and development, but a sMadeleine Morley at The American Institute for Graphic Arts says:

“A trend never simply emerges for a single year and then disappears in a puff of smoke. Instead, an aesthetic becomes popular gradually, even mysteriously, over time before fizzling out slowly without much notice at all.”

With that in mind, what has 2017 been all about? If our theme marketplace is anything to go by, minimalism and simplification are here to stay – at least for the time being.

This year has seen the beginnings of a resistance to the flat design movement, with more of a focus on originality and individuality in the use of custom graphics, illustrations and iconography.

Semi Flat Design

First there was skeuomorphic design and then flat design came along and dug its heels in thanks to Google’s Material Design. This year, however, has seen somewhere of a disruption with “semi flat design” becoming more and more popular.

So what is it? Well, it’s not flat and it’s certainly not skeuomorphic. Semi flat design adds more dimension to themes using subtle shadows to add a hint of complexity while still retaining the clean feeling of a flat design.

Freeman – Creative WordPress Theme for Agencies is one such theme embracing this design trend. Notice the shadows that lift the website examples to the right of this homepage design:

The Freeman theme.

Microinteractions

Microinteractions have become so ubiquitous in web design this year that any theme that doesn’t have them is boring. What are they? Essentially, a microinteraction is a small product-related moment that accomplishes a single task.

Whether it’s to inform a user that a button has been clicked or a form has been sent, microinteraction help add magic to sites and delight users while enhancing the user experience.

One of my favorite examples of a site that does microinteractions really well is Werkstatt – Creative Portfolio Theme. The fullscreen demo of the theme features a glitch effect for a unique user experience. Click through to see the effect in action.

The Werkstatt theme.

Geometric Shapes and Patterns

A trend leftover from 2016, shapes, patterns and lines continued to make their way into the most popular designs in our marketplace. Reminiscent of flat design, this trend added a cute and quirky feel to themes using modern design.

I’m a big fan of how Fusion – Creative Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme has made use of patterns, shapes and microinteractions to really make its homepage variations “pop.”

The Fusion theme.

Louder and Brighter Colors

This year marked a big shift away from muted, neutral colors to brighter and bolder designs. Not only has this helped cement the branding of some of the themes in our marketplace, it has helped give them a fresh look that’s on trend how tech companies like Dropbox and Spotify have redesigned their websites.

A great example of a theme leading this particular design trend is Halcyon – Multipurpose Modern WordPress Theme.

The Halcyon theme.

Authentic Photography

Who needs stock images when great quality photos are everywhere these days? These days, anyone can spot a stock photo. Likewise, free images resources like Unsplash have become so overused that you’ll find photos from the site everywhere – not a great look when you’re trying to be original.

Fortunately, since everyone has a smartphone these days it’s easy to take a great quality photo yourself. And if you don’t have an eye for photography, check out the fantastic images over at Envato Elements.

Check out Baker – A Fresh Theme for Bakeries, Cake Shops, and Pastry Stores for a mouth-watering example of how genuine, authentic photography can really sell a theme.

The Baker theme.

WordPress Plugins in 2017: The Technology Trends

One of the great things about WordPress is how extendable it is – if there’s a feature or function you need for your site, there’s a plugin for it.

As the web has evolved to keep pace with web design – and also make our online lives easier and more productive – plugin authors have stepped up to the challenge, releasing some exciting solutions to our plugin marketplace this year.

But while new plugins have gained in popularity, old favorites have shown the test of time and continue to dominate the top 10 best-selling products. As we close out 2018, here are the top trends in WordPress plugins.

Page Building and Drop and Drop

The WPBakery Page Builder.

It might’ve had a name change, but WP Bakery Page Builder (formerly Visual Composer) is still by far the most popular page builder plugin in our marketplace with almost 340,000 sales. The drag and drop plugin makes short work out of customizing any website.

When you search “page builder” in our marketplace, the results show a total of 398 plugins, revealing just show in-demand drag and drop solutions are for WordPress.

Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized digital currency, was first invented 8 years ago. While it’s not all that common to see websites that accept Bitcoin payments, the fact is 1.5% of Americans have used it or are currently using Bitcoin – that’s 4.8 million people.

Image:Bitcoin trading concept.

So it’s no surprise that plugin authors have developed a variety of solutions that enable websites to accept digital currency as payments – and integration cryptocurrencies with WordPress in other cool ways, including:

  1. Displaying market information
  2. Payment Gateways and Accepting Payments
  3. Accepting Donations
  4. Gaming
  5. Mining

eCommerce / WooCommerce

Image: Computer Table Hands Girl Credit Card Concept.

WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform on the web, now powering over 28% of all online stores. One of the best things about this free, open source solution is that there are hundreds of extensions available to help you add greater functionality to the core software – everything from tools to help you better manage your store, display shipping information at checkout and grow your marketing efforts.

Over the past year, 648 new WooCommerce plugins have joined our marketplace, bringing the total number of extensions we have available for WooCommerce to 2,276.

Live Chat

Just some of the live chat available in our marketplace.

This year has seen live chat become an essential tool for eCommerce and support teams. The great thing about live chat is that you don’t have to wait around for someone to reply to your email or phone call – you can chat to someone right now – actual people answering your questions in real-time. What’s more, it allows support team members to multitask while helping multiple customers.

There have been 42 new chat plugins added to our marketplace over the past year, helping websites provide more support options and also integrate customer support with social platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp.

What’s in Store for WordPress in 2018?

One word: Gutenberg. In his State of the Word this year, Mullenweg said his 3 big focuses for the year ahead would be around Gutenberg and core development (WordPress 5.0 is due out next year), specifically, Gutenberg editing, customization and a new theme.

While all of that will be keeping Mullenweg busy, in other parts of the WordPress ecosystem I suspect will see more shifts in the product market as plugin developers reassess their business models and some edge closer towards adopting a SaaS model (as Envato has this year with Elements) and big players like GoDaddy continue eyeing off small companies that are ripe for the picking.

Other things to keep an eye out for: cryptocurrencies and mining with plugins/websites as Bitcoin continues to rise in price, jostling in the managed WordPress hosting space as Automattic gets a foothold, and the continued rise of WooCommerce as the most popular eCommerce platform. When it comes to WordPress, the future is bright.

NOW READ: More of our wrap-ups of 2017

You should also check out:

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The Top Design Trends of 2017, and Envato’s 2018 Predictions https://envato.com/blog/the-top-design-trends-of-2017-and-envatos-2018-predictions/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 05:45:20 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=62343 Top trends in web design, audio, video, graphics design, and more - all picked by the Envato team.

The post The Top Design Trends of 2017, and Envato’s 2018 Predictions appeared first on Envato.

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2017-transparent

It’s been a big year. 

To recap, we’ve put together this list – curated by the team at Envato – of our top ten trends of the year, and predictions for what will be popular in 2018. Of course, there’s a lot more that happened in 2017 than what’s in this top ten.

A few honorable mentions for trends this year:

Here’s the list of our top ten trends of 2017:

#1: Geometric shapes

"Geometric and polygon art was big in 2017. Backgrounds, textures, and more, all with regular lines and repeating patterns."
Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 1.31.18 PM
David Appleyard
Editor, Envato Tuts+

From zig-zig geo patterns to retro triangles and designs, we saw geometric patterns everywhere this year. It’s also a simple style to try some DIY design – you can learn about it in 60 seconds, or try your hand at creating your own simple geometric pattern.

Pop 3D Geo Patterns by hughadams
Geometric Patterns by WildOnes
Winter Geometric Seamless Patterns by Wutip
Color Blocking Patterns by Youandigraphics

#2: All tropical everything

"2017 had us dreaming of luxurious holidays, complete with lush palm trees, exotic fruit and beautiful wildlife. It was a real feast for the eyes."
Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 2.04.38 PM
Kate McInnes
Quality Media Specialist, Envato
Image: Tropics, GraphicRiver
Tropical Night Flyer, GraphicRiver
Tropical Summer Party Flyer, GraphicRiver
Seamless Tropical Pattern, GraphicRiver

Kate’s honorable mention in design trends: fidget spinners, which got so big this year that they made it into the stock graphics & photography scene. 

#3: Fast typography in video

"One of the biggest trends of this year is fast typography. In an era where we’re constantly overwhelmed by the amount of information being thrown at us, the popularity of templates that help deliver messages in fast, visually engaging ways has risen.
Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 10.47.45 AM
Dom Hennequin
Community & Blog Editor, Envato

Fast typography templates: 

Stomp – Typographic Intro by Mnemonick

Rhythmic Typography by blinque

Rhythmic Opener by levmotion

Urban Opener // Dynamic Open by makcinema

#4: Color fonts

"Color fonts are poised to take over the graphic design world in 2018... this unashamedly in-your-face trend promises to put the fun back into typography."
Grace
Grace Fussell
Writer, Tuts+

The Fiesta Color font (pictured below – available to download on Envato Elements or DIY with this tutorial) highlights a new trend of colorful, custom fonts. We think this trend will continue into 2018. 

Confetti Type by rhett
RibOne font by Sentavio
Circle Dot Alphabet by itefan
Oilvare Font by adamladd
Abstract ABC by Jim_LePage

#5: Future bass

"THE dominant 2017 audio trend on AudioJungle was Future Bass. While there've been a few noteworthy emergences, such as the SynthWave renaissance we're seeing, it's the contagious sub-lines, the slick sidechaining, and the catchy chopped vocals that have made Future Bass the big consistent winner this year, which is still non-stop exploding.
AJ
AudioJungle review team
Envato

What’s next in audio trends for 2018? The reviewers said that “we may expect to see a continued and rising interest in ’80s Synthwave (à la Blade Runner, Stranger Things), Hybrid HipHop tracks (sporty stuff!) and we also have the more subtle Chill-Step showing strong signs of proliferation.”

#6: Simplicity in email design

"I think email will become sharper, smarter and more simplified... there will still be GIF's, but they'll be subtle and interactive at times. Text and content will be more concise, and I think emails will be created based on that premise. I imagine we'll actually see more text-dominant emails with text links, and less overwhelming imagery."
monica
Monica McCormick
Email Marketing Specialist, Envato
screencapture-mail-google-mail-u-0-1513295974541
Email: Airbnb
screencapture-mail-google-mail-u-0-1513295945178
Email: School of Life

#7: Return of the 90's (and 80's)

"2017 was big on bringing back loads of 90's design, especially early 90's American pop influenced design. We're seeing more nods to the 80's creeping in. 2018 could see us rehashing more 80's & 90's pop designs, as well as grunge, earthy tones being used in creative ways."
Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 8.46.59 AM
Sharon Milne
Editor, Envato Tuts+
90s
Tutorial: How to Create a 90s Style Event Flyer in Adobe InDesign
90sfinal
Tutorial: How to Create a 90s Graphical Photo Effect in Adobe Photoshop

#8: 2D + 3D design

"We're going to see a lot more of 3D and faux 3d effects, abstract & geometrical elements flowing into the designs to help enhance the visual impact of landing pages, hero sections and newsletters. This will naturally also expand into print and out-of-home advertising platforms. With the evolution of screen technology in recent years, motion graphics will be taking advantage of this design language and have a particularly strong presence in 2018."
Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 9.10.47 AM
Calin Teodorescu
Social Media, Envato

Can you tell the difference between stock photos and 3D designs?

Check out our side-by-side comparisons: How 3D Renders Are Being Used for 2D Artwork

#9: More microinteractions

"These small “product-related moments” add magic to sites, delighting and surprising users, while at the same time engaging users and enhancing user experience."
Jenni-McKinnon_avatar_1496367993-64x64
Jenni McKinnon
Freelance writer, Envato

A microinteraction is a small moment that accomplishes a single task. We’ve seen them everywhere from social media sites to our WordPress themes on Themeforest, and it’s a design detail that will only grow in popularity. 

Image: Surprise and Delight: How Microinteractions Can Bring a Boring Website to Life

#10: Print isn't dead

"Designers feel strongly and positively about print, and print remains crucial to how professional graphic designers make a living. Print lends itself to certain audiences and offerings where communication needs to be retained, contemplated, touched or trusted."
Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 10.17.48 AM
Eric Schwartz
Content Insights Manager, Envato

According to a study done by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), 97% of graphic designers work on print design projects, compared to 36% who work on TV, film, or video projects. The top print project types include brochures, marketing materials, cards, and direct mail. 

Clean Proposal by RoyalBlackStudio
Movember Event Flyer by Guuver
Business card template with red design by PixaSquare
Vengeance Poster / Flyer by ninebrains

Agree or disagree? Let us know what your favorite trends of 2017 were, and what you predict will be big in 2018. 

The post The Top Design Trends of 2017, and Envato’s 2018 Predictions appeared first on Envato.

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38 Best WordPress Themes You Can Download Right Now from Envato Elements https://envato.com/blog/38-best-themes-can-download-right-now-envato-elements/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:24:03 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=62741 A round-up of the best business, eCommerce, creative and blog themes you can download right now from Elements.

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ICYMI, WordPress themes are now available to download from Envato Elements!

What does that mean? If you’re a designer, marketer or creative who downloads a lot of digital products, like photography, illustrations, icons, patterns, backgrounds, themes and plugins, then you probably fork out a lot of money to buy these things.

With Elements, you don’t have to think twice about what you download. Our subscription marketplace is like Netflix or Spotify and you download all the WordPress themes you want for one annual fee. How convenient is that!

To help you get started, I’ve put together this collection of some of the most popular theme you can download right now from Elements, including business, eCommerce, creative and blog themes.

New themes are being added all the time so be sure to check back often in case you miss anything!

Business and Corporate Themes:

Futurico – Business WordPress Theme

You’ll make a solid first impression with this dynamic business theme, which features modern fonts, strong iconography and parallax scrolling. Other features include a customizable pricing table, team slider and a great homepage showcase for your latest work.

KingMa | Creative Business One & MultiPage Theme

With its smooth scrolling, parallax design and CSS3 animations and attention to details, KingMa is a solid business theme that includes all the trimmings – a team carousel sliders, stunning icons, a pricing table, and 12 different homepage designs.

Apoa – Business WordPress Theme

Apoa provides a strong foundation for building your business websites. Built on Bootstrap v3.3.5, it comes with detailed documentation, custom shortcodes, support for post formats and a comprehensive theme options panel. Other nice features include Google Maps integration and Google Fonts.

Solicitor Law Business Responsive WordPress Theme

You know how some themes don’t feel like real-life? Okay, maybe it’s just me. But when I first checked out this theme I thought I was looking at a site for an actually law firm. The power of well-selected stock photography, maybe? Whatever the case may be, this theme is a great choice if you work in the legal sector.

A few more:

eCommerce and WooCommerce themes:

Cosi – Multipurpose WooCommerce WordPress Theme

This cute and colorful theme is hugely versatile. There are a bunch of different homepage designs to choose from, as as well as various header, footer, blog and portfolio layouts. It’s super easy to customize, too, with unlimited color combinations and 30+ shortcodes so you can change up how the elements look on the page.

Fashionist – WooCommerce WordPress Theme

With its gorgeous hero header slider, tight typography and beautiful design, this theme is ideal for classy stores looking to impress. It’s packed with features to help any store owner make the most of their online presence – drag and drop customization, MailChimp integration, mega menu and 25 PSD layouts included.

EOVO – Creative & eCommerce WordPress Theme

A stylish theme for the modern business if ever there was one. This theme will make great use of your photography with its abstract design and multiple layouts. There are 8 creative homepage designs and lots little extras like PSD files, lots of header and footer layouts, blog and portfolio templates, and an mega menu support.

Trendify – Fashion eCommerce WordPress Theme

This dapper theme is both easy to use and functional. It comes with 6 homepage design variations and lots of useful integrations for store owners who don’t want o mess around with code, including WPBakery Visual Composer (for drag and drop customizations), Slider Revolution and OWL Carousel.

A few more:

Creative and Portfolio Themes:

Oliver – Classic & Minimal WordPress Theme

Looking for a minimalist theme to showcase your writing? You can’t go wrong with this theme. Oliver does the basics well. It features post formats support, various blog layouts (including regular, grid and masonry), various header designs and a beautiful gallery (both lightbox and slider).

uCard – Animated vCard WordPress Theme

At first glance this portfolio theme looks very basic. But when you start clicking around you quickly realize it’s actually feature-rich and incredibly well-designed. For the curious eye, there’s lots to discover – a cute and quirky “About me” page, clean icons, a punchy portfolio and a functional blog.

MAMA – Creative Minimal Portfolio WordPress Theme

Don’t be fooled by this theme’s seemingly minimalist design. It’s all in the scrolling, which is hard to explain, you really need to see it for yourself. I suppose it’s split-page scrolling? Whatever it is, it’s attention-grabbing and a great choice for agency’s and creatives looking for something a bit different.

Dropout – Creative Multi-Purpose Theme

From it’s parallax slider header to smooth scrolling and AJAX portfolio posts, this is a theme that has been designed and developed with form and function in mind. There are so many ways you could customize this theme – all you need to do is one-click import and demo and start using the drag and drop builder to change up how the designs looks.

Adios | Portfolio WordPress Theme

With its subdued color scheme and bold typography, Adios is a design-drive and sophisticated theme. It comes with 9 homepage layouts and a collection of portfolio options so you can showcase your work. There are also shortcodes for all kinds of things, including blockquotes, Google Maps, icons, image sliders and counters.

A few more:

Magazine and Blog Themes:

Richter – Creative WordPress Blog Theme

This no-nonsense theme covers all the blogging basics and more. It features simple customization, modern typography (and lots of options to change fonts), CSS3 animations, Font Awesome icons, and the ability to hide elements.

Koala – Responsive WordPress Blog Theme

Ignore the tech speak placeholder text for a minute and imagine your own content in this theme. One of the best features of this design is the ability to feature a background image – ideal for food and travel bloggers. This theme is also hugely customizable, with multiple layout options, a stack of shortcodes, custom widgets and 585+ Font Awesome icons.

Slate – Responsive WordPress Blog Theme

Slate is a flexible theme featuring a two-column layout – not something you see all that often in theme design. It comes with 80+ theme customizer options, infinite post loading and is fast – it achieves a score of 93+ on Google PageSpeed Insights.

Passion Blogger – A Responsive WordPress Theme

This theme is ideal for anyone who runs a small business and wants their website to reflect their individuality. There are 10 different homepage designs, so you’re bound to find one that resonates with you. There’s also mega menu support, unlimited colors, a widgetized footer and lots more customizations in the WordPress theme customizer.

A few more:

This is just a small collection of what you’ll find at Envato Elements. So if you didn’t see a theme you like in the list above, head over to our subscription marketplace for more stunning WordPress themes.

The post 38 Best WordPress Themes You Can Download Right Now from Envato Elements appeared first on Envato.

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‘Ultra Violet’ Design Inspiration for the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year https://envato.com/blog/ultra-violet-design-inspiration-2018-pantone-color-year/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:00:38 +0000 https://envato.com/?p=62657 How to incorporate the 2018 Pantone of the Year into your design work.

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Image: Pantone

The 2018 Pantone color of the year is Ultra Violet, an ‘inventive and imaginative’ shade of purple.

It’s a shade that Pantone calls complexcontemplativeprovocative, and thoughtful. In their dramatic unveiling of the 2018 Color of the Year, Pantone makes references to pop culture, politics, and the cosmos. It’s a tall order for a color, but we’re on board.

Image: Pantone

Whether it’s just a color, or more of a ‘way of life‘, we think it’s a color that’s definitely on-trend this year. At Envato, we’ve seen a plethora of purple designs on our marketplaces, and on Envato Elements. We’ve also seen a stellar amount of space-inspired websites and space-inspired graphic designs.

The color psychology of Ultra Violet

A study done in 2003 by Color Assignment showed that while 23% of women like purple, men don’t seem to like purple at all – but that perception seemed to have changed in recent years. Purple is a color strongly associated with courage, royalty, and spirituality.

From green to purple: an Envato story

Last year’s Pantone color of the year, Greenery, shared a suspicious resemblance to the shade of the Envato logo. But for the last year, the Envato design team has been harboring a slight obsession with purple shades. We’re not saying we’re trend-setters, but…

Left: Envato Elements; right: Envato Websites.

Here’s a curated collection of designs on Envato Elements where the Pantone 2018 Color of the Year is dominant.

Downloadable graphics, backgrounds, and patterns:

Watercolor Texture Shades of Lavender by cornercroft
Space Nebula Backgrounds by themefire
Purple Flowers Social Media Designs by annabalashova
Abstract Triangles Backgrounds by themefire
Sangria design by designloverstudio
Violet Liquid Marble Backgrounds by themefire
Space Watercolor Backgrounds by M-e-f
Sun Lights Abstract Background by mamounalbibi
Magic Poly Backgrounds by M-e-f
Blooms in Spring by hellomartco
Topographic Styled Colorful Lines Background by Shemul

Stock photography:

Lavender sunrise by Jasmina_K
tropical beach by dotshock
CNC Laser plasma cutting of metal, modern industrial technology. by cookelma
Misty forest in autumn by pawopa3336
Fairy Lights by lightzone

 

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